Teresa Shook, the founder of the Women’s March, called Monday on the group’s leaders to step down, accusing them of allowing anti-Semitism and other bigoted ideologies to infect the organization’s purpose.
She said the four co-chairs of the leftist protest group- — Bob Bland, Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour — have “steered the Movement away from its true course.”
“I have waited, hoping they would right the ship. But they have not,” said Ms. Shook in a Facebook post. “In opposition to our Unity Principles, they have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs.”
Three of the leaders — Ms. Mallory, Ms. Perez and Ms. Sarsour — have come under fire for their associations with Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, long accused of promoting anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT views.
Actress Alyssa Milano recently said she would not attend the third annual march in January unless the Women’s March addressed the issue, after which the group issued a statement condemning anti-Semitism.
It wasn’t enough for Ms. Shook, who called on the co-chairs to step down “and to let others lead who can restore faith in the Movement to its original intent.”
“I stand in Solidarity with all the Sister March Organizations, to bring the Movement back to its authentic purpose,” she said. “As Women’s March founder, I am stepping up to bring focus back to the Unity Principles on which our movement began, and with the support of all of those who marched and have continued to march, I pledge to support grassroots, decentralized leadership promoting a safe, worldwide community devoid of hate speech, bigotry and racism.”
The Women’s March leadership has also been criticized for its recent blasts at “white women.”
The third annual Women’s March is scheduled for Jan. 19 in Washington, D.C. The first march, held a day after President Trump’s inauguration, drew record crowds to the National Mall.
A retired lawyer who lives in Hawaii, Ms. Shook is credited with coming up with idea for the first event. The night after the November 2016 election, she created a Facebook event page that quickly drew thousands of followers.
All four of the current leaders were also involved in organizing the first march. They had no immediate public response to Ms. Shook’s call for their resignations.
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